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National Plug in Day to "Electrify the Island" at Mote
Sept. 29 celebration will feature electric vehicles, sustainable technology, discount Mote admission
Published Tuesday, September 3, 2013
by Hayley Rutger

Electric vehicles and other eco-friendly technologies will show their power during “Electrify the Island”: the Sarasota-based festival for the nationwide celebration National Plug In Day. 

This free event will take place from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29, on the grounds of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium on City Island, Sarasota. Mote is a world-class marine science and education institution that launched a Sustainable Energy Initiative in 2012 to enhance the Lab’s environmentally sound practices.


Electrify the Island will feature a plug-in electric vehicle (EV) expo, ride-and-drive sessions that allow visitors to test some of the sleekest EVs around, including cars from Tesla, Ford, Chevrolet and Nissan, along with vendors focused on sustainability and energy efficiency, educational booths, great food and a special discount at The Aquarium at Mote.

At noon on Sept. 29, Sarasota Mayor Shannon Snyder will present a proclamation honoring the local Plug In Day and Carolyn Mason, Chair of the Sarasota County Commission, will also speak in honor of the event, following remarks from event Co-Chairs Nigel Mould, Trustee at Mote Marine Laboratory, and Chris Sharek, Atkins Environmental Engineer.

This is the second National Plug In Day celebration held in Sarasota, following last year’s energizing success of Electrify the Circle — a major EV celebration on Florida’s Suncoast. This year’s event will spark even more enthusiasm as part of the coast-to-coast national celebration involving 70 locations across the U.S. Together, these events aim to draw global attention to the environmental and economic benefits of plug-in EVs. 

Electrify the Island is possible thanks to national partners Plug In America, Sierra Club and Electric Auto Association, along with local partners City of Sarasota, Sarasota County and Mote.

“It means a lot to Mote Marine Laboratory to be part of this year’s national event — the Lab has worked hard to implement sustainable technology and practices, such as the electric vehicle charger at our public Aquarium, the arrays of solar panels on our buildings and the water-recycling technology we’ve used for years in fish farming research,” said event Co-Chair Mould. “As a nonprofit, Mote has depended a lot on local support to enhance our eco-friendly practices, and we hope to give something back to this great community by hosting Electrify the Island.”

(Read about Mote’s Sustainable Energy Initiative and ways to help at:

Event Co-Chair Chris Sharek, an Atkins Environmental Engineer and EV owner, added:

“This event showcases technology that is available here and now. These vehicles not only provide cleaner and cheaper personal transportation they significantly reduce our dependence on oil and its volatile price swings influenced by global events, and they are quiet and fun to drive!”

Here are a few reasons to get amped up about electric vehicles, according to the National Plug In Day Web site:

  • Fueling your car with electricity is about five times cheaper than fueling with gasoline. It is also much more convenient to plug in at home than to stop by a gas station.
  • EVs are cheaper to maintain than gasoline vehicles. EVs require no oil changes and have 10 times fewer moving parts than a gas-powered car.
  • EVs help reduce pollution from conventional vehicles. The U.S. transportation sector is responsible for nearly a third of our nation's carbon pollution, and the cars and light trucks on the road today account for about 20 percent of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions. EVs that rely fully on electricity have no tail-pipe emissions and, even taking into account the emissions from the electricity produced to charge EVs, these vehicles emit significantly less carbon dioxide on average than conventional vehicles.
  • Electric and hybrid vehicles help fuel the economy. The U.S. is building advanced-technology vehicles and components in at least 20 states, creating thousands of jobs, according to a Sierra Club report.

“Electric vehicles have enabled millions of miles of cleaner, oil-free driving which reduces our community dependence on oil and improves our air quality,” said Britten Cleveland, regional representative for the Sierra Club and partner in the Sarasota event. “The Sierra Club is thrilled to be working with local government officials and EV enthusiasts to promote this exciting technology.”


Event Partners


Event organizers thank the following sponsors: Tesla, Sarasota Ford, Sunset Chevrolet, Gettel Nissan and Region Solar.


Electrify the Island: If You Go

  • Event timing: 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 29 festival followed by 4:30 post-event EV rally (drive to a local beach restaurant)
  • Location: Event takes place on the grounds of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway on City Island, Sarasota
  • Mote discount: Event attendees will receive discount admission to The Aquarium at Mote on Sept. 29 only: $10 for adults, $9 for seniors (65 and older) and $5 for kids (ages 4-12). Age 3 and younger free. Hand stamps for the discount will be available at the Plug In Day. You must show the stamp and request the discount at time of ticket purchase on Sept. 29. It may not be used for a refund after your purchase and the discount is not valid with any other offer. Mote admission not required to attend Plug In Day.
  • More information about National Plug In Day: Visit To locate this year’s event at Mote, search “Sarasota.”

Media Opportunity

  • What: Sarasota Mayor Shannon Snyder will present a proclamation honoring National Plug In Day: Electrify the Island, and Carolyn Mason, Chair of the Sarasota County Commission, will also speak in honor of the event, following remarks from event Co-Chairs Nigel Mould, Trustee at Mote Marine Laboratory, and Chris Sharek, Atkins Environmental Engineer. Interviews will be available afterward.
  • When: Noon on Sunday, Sept. 29
  • Where: Outside of Mote Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway on City Island, Sarasota. (Remarks will take place near the whale fountain in front of the main entrance to The Aquarium.)
  • RSVP: Media should contact Hayley Rutger at or 941-374-0081. Your RSVP will allow us to update you if plans change.

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Founded in 1955, Mote Marine Laboratory is an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 research organization based in Sarasota, Fla., with field stations in eastern Sarasota County, Charlotte Harbor and the Florida Keys. Donations to Mote are tax deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.
Mote is dedicated to today’s research for tomorrow’s oceans with an emphasis on world-class research relevant to conservation and sustainable use of marine biodiversity, healthy habitats and natural resources. Research programs include studies of human cancer using marine models, the effects of man-made and natural toxins on humans and on the environment, the health of wild fisheries, developing sustainable and successful fish restocking techniques and food production technologies and the development of ocean technology to help us better understand the health of the environment. Mote research programs also focus on understanding the population dynamics of manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, sharks and coral reefs and on conservation and restoration efforts related to these species and ecosystems. Mote’s vision includes positively impacting public policy through science-based outreach and education. Showcasing this research is The Aquarium at Mote, open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 365 days a year. Learn more at

Contact: Mote Marine Laboratory, 1600 Ken Thompson Parkway, Sarasota, FL 34236. (941) 388-4441 or


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Media Contact: Hayley Rutger, 941-374-0081,


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